The Alberta Government’s 2023 Budget was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon at the Legislature in Edmonton. The budget document, entitled Securing Alberta’s Future, provides details on
the government’s fiscal priorities, plans, and parameters for the 2023-24 fiscal
year starting April 1st.
new fiscal plan, which comes almost exactly three months before a
scheduled spring election on May 29th, will see spending grow by nearly 4
- Total spending is expected to
reach $66.8 billion, leaving $1.5 billion for the government’s disaster
- A surplus of $2.4 billion is
forecasted in 2023-24, the second surplus in a row but only the fourth one
in the last 15 years.
- Taxpayer-supported debt is
anticipated to hit $78.3 billion, $17.3 billion lower than estimated in
last year’s budget, while debt servicing costs are expected to hit $2.8
- Legislation for the Alberta
Heritage Savings Trust Fund will be amended so the fund keeps 100% of its
annual net earnings.
- Balanced budgets will be
mandated annually, with exceptions allowed for unexpected disaster costs
or a sharp decline in revenue.
- Year-over-year increases in
operating expenses will be limited to population growth and inflation.
- Year-over-year increases in
- At least 50% of future
surpluses will be used to repay debt maturing that fiscal year, and the
remaining cash would be used to:
- pay down the debt,
- make additional deposits into
the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, and
- fund one-time initiatives that
do not lead to permanent increases in government spending.
- The Capital Plan invests almost
$23 billion in new infrastructure, including:
- $6.5 billion for
- $3.1 billion for health
- $2.3 billion for roads and
- $1.6 billion for schools.
- $6.5 billion for
Specifically, Budget 2023 boosts funding in the
Government’s key priority areas of healthcare, affordability, public safety,
and economic growth.
Health continues to be
a major focus, with funding increasing by $965 million (4.1%) from the 2022-23
forecast to a total of $24.5 billion. Over the next three years, new money will
be allocated as follows:
- $196 million to strengthen EMS
by hiring more staff and implementing recommendations made by the
Provincial Advisory Committee.
- $15 million for new EMS
vehicles and to replace or upgrade related equipment.
- $158 million to increase the
number of health-care professionals in Alberta.
- $237 million for the Alberta
Surgical Initiative Capital Program, including $120 million in new funding
to support additional projects in AHS-owned facilities, with a goal to
have almost 350,000 surgeries done every year.
- $243 million to improve primary
- $132 million towards treatment
and recovery services.
Inflation relief will continue to be provided through the government’s
Affordability Action Plan, including the fuel tax relief program, electricity
rebates, natural gas rebates, and monthly $100 affordability payments. Budget
2023 also includes an additional $361 million over three years to support
- Boosting K-12 education funding
by 5% to a total of $8.8 billion.
- Capping post-secondary fees at
2% (implemented in 2024-25 and beyond).
- Reduction in average childcare
fees to $15 per day in 2023-24 fiscal year.
- Increase in Assured Income for
the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Income Support and Alberta Seniors
Benefit by 6% and indexed to keep pace with inflation.
- $102 million per year to
increase the wages of more than 20,000 social workers.
Public Safety was also a major theme of the 2023 Budget. New measures include:
- A $1.2 billion annual increase operating expense for Public Safety and Emergency Services.
- $84 million more to fund contract policing and the sheriff’s branch, help municipalities and fight organized crime.
- $34 million in additional funding for correctional services.
- $5 million in new funding to support an Indigenous-led response to the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.
- $2 million for continued policing on the eight Metis Settlements in Alberta.
- Over the next three years:
- $20 million to better protect and assist survivors and victims of human trafficking,
- $3 million to expand the Rural Sexual Assault Support project, and
- $65 million to strengthen First Nations policing.
Promoting economic growth continues to be a key priority for the Alberta Government. Budget 2023 announced a new Alberta Agri-Processing Investment Tax Credit that will provide a non-refundable tax credit of 12% of eligible capital expenditures for investments of $10 million or more to build or expand agri-processing facilities in Alberta. The Budget also announced:
- $54 million more per year for the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (starting in 2025-26).
- $24.5 million for the Technology and Innovation Strategy.
- $176 million (by 2025-26) for the Alberta at Work initiative to continue to help address labour shortages in key sectors.
- $95 million to support Career and Employment Services.
- $15 million annually for the Investment and Growth Fund.
Finally, Budget 2023 forecasts spending increases to promote economic development over the next three years, including:
- $2.3 billion for key projects and programs that expand and improve Alberta’s road and bridge network.
- $369 million for Alberta’s Broadband Strategy, supporting internet coverage in remote areas.
- $111 million to support targeted post-secondary enrolment expansion in highest demand sectors, such as non-trade construction, energy, technology and business.
- $100 million in increased funding for the Film and Television Tax Credit.
The Budget will be passed after debate, followed by a short sitting until the end of March.
For more information and insights about what these developments mean for Canada’s political landscape, please contact:
Elysa Darling – Senior Strategy Advisor
Rick Fraser – Senior Strategy Advisor
Duane Monea – Senior Strategy Advisor
Jeff Sterzuk – President
Ben Thibault – Senior Strategy Advisor
Richard Truscott – Vice-President
To learn more about Prairie Sky Strategy, please visit our website.